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language ideology

Haviland (2003) & language ideology:

For todays session, you read Haviland (2003), an analysis of how language ideologies are central to the practice of U.S. law. For this discussion post, you will analyze how language ideologies are part of the current Presidential impeachment trial unfolding in the U.S. Congress. At a fundamental level, the impeachment trial is about language: did then-President Trumps words incite a violent insurrection?

Begin by viewing this 25-minute segment of the defense teams opening argument.


Your analysis will be grounded in Havilands discussion of language ideology. To define language ideology as a concept, he cites a 1990 essay by anthropologist Alan Rumsey: shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of language in the world (764). And, he identifies an especially pervasive language ideology that circulates in U.S. law, the referential ideology: the notion that words are essentially vehicles for conveying referential meaning, that is, propositions that are simply true or false (766).

The question you are addressing is this: how is the referential ideology present in this performance by the defense team? Be sure to illustrate your answer with examples from the video clip.

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